LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board on June 29 will be reminded of the “do’s and don’ts” that come with their role as board members.
The training program is expected to center on ethics, issues of micromanagement and state laws, such as the Open Meetings Law, board President Mark Allen Babineaux said.
Issues involving the Open Meetings Law and micromanagement were taken up at recent board meetings, but Babineaux said the timing of the 6 p.m. June 29 training is coincidental.
Babineaux said such training has been discussed since January when three new members joined the nine-member board, but the timing had never been quite right.
State law requires that school board members receive at least six hours of training annually.
Board members who receive at least 16 hours of training within their first year are designated as “distinguished school board members.”
New School Board members Tommy Angelle, Kermit Bouillion and Tehmi Chassion, have each earned at least 16 hours, according to training hours documented by the Louisiana School Boards Association.
The association provides training and maintains the official record of member training.
So far this year, board members have had the opportunity to attend training sessions held by the Louisiana School Boards Association, the Louisiana Department of Education and the National School Boards Association at its annual conference.
Board members will be eligible for two credit hours of ethics training following the June 29 session, Babineaux said.
The upcoming training comes after a June 1 board meeting visit from 15th Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson in response to a complaint of a possible Open Meetings Law violation.
Harson investigated a complaint about new board member Bouillion calling other members to discuss a proposed contract extension for school Superintendent Burnell Lemoine. Bouillion said to one board member that a majority would not vote in support of the extension at an upcoming meeting.
The issue was never officially brought before the board as scheduled for its May 4 meeting because Lemoine announced he planned to serve out his contract, which ends on Dec. 31.
Harson said the communication among board members by phone, text and email about the issue was a violation of the spirit of the state’s Open Meetings Law, which is designed to assure that the public is aware of decisions and deliberations that affect public policy.
Allegations of micromanagement were aired during a May 18 meeting where some members fought an administrative decision to switch high schools from a block schedule to a seven-period daily schedule.
Such behavior could impact the board’s pending search for a new superintendent, Rae Trahan warned her fellow board members at the time.
Babineaux said he hopes the training serves as a reminder about the responsibilities and limitations that members face.
Babineaux said all nine members have confirmed they will attend the training session, which will follow the board’s 4:30 p.m. special meeting to approve its budget.